I often think about the amount of stuff in our house.
I hate stuff.
Wait - I take that back. I love stuff, everybody loves stuff. BUT, I hate too much stuff; I hate unnecessary stuff; I hate stuff that comes wrapped in three layers of plastic and two layers of cardboard; I hate stuff that clutters the closets and the counters and the foot of the bed.
I am constantly trying to get rid of things - which is funny, because people are constantly trying to give me things. This is tricky for me, because try as I might, I can't seem to find the right words to say, "Listen honey, I have trouble enough organizing the 4 mixing bowls that I allow myself to own, so while I appreciate you thinking of me while at the Kohl's 17-hour sale, I really don't need any beaded throw pillows, tangerine/musk ox shower gel, or 8 mint-in-the-box monogrammed handkercheifs." (Especially when the monogram is an F.)
I must look like some sort of "crap" magnet - because I seem to attract more stuff than I know what to do with. And lest you think I sound ungrateful, I assure you - I'm not. It's just that too much stuff in the house stresses me out. We love the generosity of our friends and family, but I'm just not getting why somebody buys pomegranate/goat-urine hand lotion in the first place - and why they think I need a bottle.
But I digress.
I make monthly trips to the Goodwill in an attempt to divest myself of the suffocating mound of clothes these kids seem to outgrow. Usually, I buy new things there as well - shirts for Yoda, snow boots for the big kids, jeans, sweatshirts - whatever. And the other day, as I was looking around the house, I realized that Rico and I have furnished this entire house with almost entirely used stuff. Everything from Craigslist, to Goodwill, to random things the old landlord said we could keep. Even our new bedroom is almost 100% totally, completely recycled - which feels really good. I sleep a little better knowing I didn't dump a bunch of packaging into a landfill, or import even more crud from a Chinese sweatshop. I'm not sure how environmentally sound the paint is . . . but seriously, we all have our limits.